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Mark Caserta: Senate report fans flames of hatred of US

18 Dec

What motivation was there for its release?

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Dec. 18, 2014 @ 12:01 AM

The day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, hundreds of American patriots gathered at Harris Riverfront Park to mourn the loss of innocent life. As we joined in prayer and song, there wasn’t a dry eye in sight. We needed healing, and we needed answers.

In the wake of the unprecedented attack, we realized we were at war with Islamic terrorism. Americans united in an uncommon manner behind a common goal: Expeditiously track down the individuals responsible before they could mount yet another attack on the U.S. For all we knew this was a “ticking time bomb” scenario with more waves of attacks to come.

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But our country was shaken at its very foundation. This new enemy didn’t fear death, they celebrated it. This wasn’t a time for indecision or vacillation of principles. It was a time for action. We were at war, and the enemy had successfully gotten off the first deadly round.

In the following months, CIA operatives would begin strategically compiling information about Al Qaeda’s networks led by Osama bin Laden. Through enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), information critical to defeating radical Islam was gathered. As a result, Al Qaeda would eventually be crippled and Osama bin Laden killed.

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But when Barack Obama became president he wasted no time decrying the EITs incorporated by the Bush administration. In January 2009, the president issued an executive order prohibiting any unlawful interrogation by the CIA, saying it didn’t represent America’s “values.”

And if indeed, the CIA engaged in unlawful interrogation following 9/11, one would think that after six years it would be in America’s best interest to simply “move on.” But certain ravenous politicians, sensing Americans have settled into a “surety of safeness,” have dangerously begun to chum the troubled waters of the past.

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Last week, a Democrat-loaded Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report disclosing the full details of the Bush administration’s EITs. Predictably, the country has since been deluged with political donnybrook questioning the motivation behind the timing of the release.

Upon the declassification of the committee’s report, President Obama told Americans “that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger…” The president went on to remind us there is “strength” in confessing our imperfections to the world.

I never cease to be amazed at what this president thinks makes America strong.

While Obama believes this “purging” of the soul will make other nations “admire” the U.S. for our forthrightness, he just served up a terrific recruiting tool for modern day Islamic terrorism. He simply doesn’t understand that rogue nations perceive his naivet as weakness and are emboldened to act.


This belated assertion of wrongdoing also stains the service of those commissioned by Republicans and Democrats alike to identify and destroy the enemy before they could strike again.

Releasing this report fans the flames of Islamic hatred toward the U.S. And the fact that it puts American lives in jeopardy was reason enough not to have disclosed the information.

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Ex-CIA official: CIA torture report will ‘cost American lives’

14 Dec

The Hill

By Scott Wong – 12/14/14 07:00 AM EST


Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein’s decision to release the CIA torture report will “cost American lives,” a former top CIA official said in a radio interview that aired Sunday morning.

“You are going to hand ISIS and the al-Nusra Front [terrorist groups] a massive information and operations victory … This is going in the end to cost American lives,” former CIA Officer and Station Chief Gary Berntsen said when asked what he would have warned Feinstein about making the report public.

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Berntsen helped lead the CIA’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He made his remarks on The Cats Roundtable, host John Catsimatidis’s radio show on AM 970 in New York, and they echo similar comments from CIA veterans like former Director Michael Hayden.

“It’s a devastating report in that it puts out on the table the dirty laundry of the agency … there wasn’t a balanced approach to the report,” Berntsen said. “And this is going to damage our relationships with foreign intelligence services around the world.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee report was released by Feinstein, a California Democrat, just weeks before her party hands over control of the upper chamber to Republicans. The report detailed “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding and rectal hydration, and critics including Berntsen have called the document partisan

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Mark Caserta: National security no flippant matter

5 Jun

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Jun. 05, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Admittedly, every administration leaks its share of classified information. But it seems Team Obama has raised the bar.

Last week, in one of Washington’s “Friday afternoon” information dumps, the White House admitted it had revealed the name of the CIA’s top officer in Kabul, Afghanistan, to some 6,000 journalists on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in the president’s surprise visit with U.S. troops.

Upon learning of the error, the administration issued a revised list that didn’t include the individual who had been identified on the initial release as the “Chief of Station” in Kabul, a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country.

“It shouldn’t have happened,” deputy national security advisor Tony Blinken told CNN. “We’re trying to understand why it happened. The chief of staff, Denis McDonough, asked White House counsel to look into it, to figure out what happened and make sure it won’t happen again.”

Now while an internal investigation will likely satisfy Obama supporters, it’s a far cry from the bitter tone used years ago when the Bush administration leaked Valerie Plame’s identity. At that time, words like “traitor” and “treason” were used to describe Bush officials involved in the controversy.

But the leaks from the Obama administration stretch back for years and are some of the more notable in recent history.

Shortly after the successful raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, the Obama administration revealed the classified identity of SEAL Team Six, Special Operations Force behind the raid, placing a target on the backs of the team members as well as their families.

Speaking at an event two days following the raid, Vice President Joe Biden, apparently giddy over the mission’s success, publicly identified the unit that tracked down and killed America’s foremost enemy, giving jihadists a clear target to avenge the death of Bin Laden.

The Obama administration would then go on to “out” the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track down Bin Laden. Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician who helped the CIA confirm Osama Bin Laden’s presence in the city, was sentenced to 33 years by the Pakistani government for his role in the attack.

Even allied nation’s secrets apparently aren’t safe with this administration.

In December 2012, the Obama administration “accidentally” revealed extensive details about a top-secret missile base the U.S. planned to build for Israel to host a new ballistic-missile defense system called the Arrow 3. Israeli military officials were shocked when they learned that the U.S. revealed details of the project in documents it published seeking contractor bids.

Now many folks aren’t sure if this administration’s reckless disclosure of our nation’s secrets is for political gain or simply from sheer incompetence. I believe it may be both.

But it’s time for Obama to end his flippant approach to national security — before it results in catastrophic loss of life.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page

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